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by Kalina Newman — May 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

The fifth annual Father’s Day Auto Festival returns to Crystal City on Sunday, June 18, where a bevy of vehicles from sport cars to antiques will be on display.

The family-friendly festival is from 2-6 p.m. at 220 20th Street S., and will feature a range of automobiles for viewing.

Presented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District, the festival has a new partnership with automotive website Carsfera. The collaboration allows dozens of new cars to be added to the line-up.

In addition to the display show, there will be other activities like a mini race car painting booth, a race track, moon bounce and live music. A Toyota Prius will also be on display for local artists to creatively paint throughout the event.

The event is free to attend, and it is also free to register a vehicle to display, but online registration is required for the latter.

Photo via Crystal City BID

by Chris Teale — April 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

With the growth of electric vehicles nationwide, one Arlington startup is looking to solve what could be a common problem: the need for extra electricity when not near a charging station.

Electric Feel works on the same principle as a portable battery bank that can charge a cell phone. Its energy storage device holds about 5 kilowatts of power, which translates to about 25 miles per charge for an electric vehicle.

Company founder Farah Brunache has been designing her storage device for over a year, and said she was inspired by driving an electric car herself but not using her apartment complex’s charging facilities every night.

“That’s when I realized I needed to look hard at when I was able to reach my destination that following day, and that’s when I thought of the concept of doing a partial charge, which is basically what my device does,” she said. “I essentially started the business to fill in the gap of needing to partially charge your vehicle.”

Currently, the storage device Brunache is designing weighs around 20 pounds, which she said “sounds super heavy.” She said the design is still in the early stages so she used standard batteries, but in the future hopes to cut the device’s weight in half to 10 pounds or less.

“I like to tell people it’s similar to how people carry their bikes to work,” Brunache said. “You’ll ride with it, and it’s not heavy then, and then when you’re going to transition into a building or lock it up, then yes you have to lift it. It is weighty but manageable.”

Right now, Brunache said her goal is to start shipping the product at the end of this year or the beginning of next to begin beta testing. Those interested in helping test the device — and Brunache said there has been a lot of interest — can sign up online. The process of working out how to manufacture the product is ongoing.

“It’s still being tested, and I’m speaking to these different manufacturers to get a better understanding of what a minimum order would need to be,” Brunache said. “Right now, I’m working on starting beta testing, getting feedback and working on final design changes. Throughout that process, I’ll gather a list of individuals interested in testing, so then it can help set expectations of manufacturing.”

Given the growth of electric vehicle use both in Arlington and nationwide, and the additions of charging stations at apartment buildings, parking garages and stores, Brunache said her device can help fill a growing need.

“One of the things is electric vehicles, the way that we as drivers use them, we always need electricity, just like in life, kind of like how we always need water,” she said. “It’s a resource we’re constantly needing. I definitely see this as something that will be loved by the masses, especially as more electric vehicles get on the road.”

by Chris Teale — March 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

Smashed windshield from ice (photo courtesy Meg Miller Rydzewski)

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) The recent winter storm may be old news, but after several incidents in recent days drivers still need to be alert for chunks of ice flying off vehicles in front of them.

Arlington resident Meg Miller Rydzewski sent a photo of her husband’s car, which was struck by a chunk of ice that broke off a truck in front of him while driving northbound on I-95.

The ice hit the windshield and caused major damage, but Rydzewski said it could have been much worse.

“It’s estimated that if the force of impact had been 10 to 15 percent more, it would have gone through the windshield and might have killed him,” she wrote. “[It was] sudden and very scary.”

“He did get safely to the side of the highway but couldn’t see where he was going due to the shattered glass,” Rydzewski added. “Thankfully he was not hurt.”

AAA reported that flying ice caused injuries to three vehicle occupants along I-95 and the Beltway in Maryland on Wednesday. Maryland State Police said the victims “suffered eye injuries from spraying glass from windshields broken by ice from other vehicles.”

John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, said drivers are responsible for clearing snow and ice from their cars before they leave home.

“Snow and ice flying off moving vehicles will cause other drivers to swerve to avoid it, and they can run off the road or swerve into another lane of traffic where other motorists are traveling, causing a deadly domino effect,” he said. “So before leaving your driveway or your curbside parking spot, and before you go, clear every inch of snow and ice accumulated on the exposed surfaces from your vehicle.”

There is no law in Virginia, Maryland or D.C. to punish motorists that do not remove snow from their vehicles before driving, according to AAA.

“A law is needed in Maryland, Virginia and the District to help protect drivers from sheets of snow and ice flying off from vehicles while they are driving down the road,” Townsend said. “After this epic snowstorm, it can be a matter of life or death if drivers fail to remove the snow and ice.”

AAA has a number of tips for people clearing snow from their cars. Drivers should never use hot water to melt ice on their cars, for instance; the organization recommends using de-icer spray for windows and mirrors in combination with a snow brush for the rest of the car. With the snow brush, drivers should work from the top of the vehicle on down, pulling snow towards you.

“It requires less effort and helps you avoid having to clear the same areas twice,” AAA says. “If the vehicle is an SUV or taller — grab a step stool to help access the roof.”

“Just as the removal of snow from sidewalks along your home and business is a responsibility of all citizens, removing snow and ice from vehicles should be the responsibility of every driver before it becomes dislodged while driving down the highways,” Townsend said. “It is the duty and debt we owe one another.”

Photo courtesy Meg Miller Rydzewski

by ARLnow.com — January 26, 2017 at 11:25 am 0

Worst Cities to Own a Car graphic (via SmartAsset)Arlington County is the No. 5 worst “city” in which to own a car, according to a new study.

The website SmartAsset ranked localities by factors like hours spent in traffic per year, rate of motor vehicle theft, number of parking garages per driver and “the non-driving options a resident has for getting around.”

At the top of the list — the alleged worst city to own a car — was Newark, New Jersey, followed by San Francisco and D.C.

Here’s the explanation for why Arlington was No. 5:

As previously mentioned, the Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst traffic in the country. Unfortunately for the residents of Arlington, they are a part of that metro area. They face the same brutal 82 hours per year spent in traffic, on average. It costs Arlington residents $1,834 per year, on average, waiting in that traffic. For residents of Arlington, a car is more of a necessity than it is for people living in D.C., which is why it ranks lower in our study.

Graphic via SmartAsset

by ARLnow.com — November 28, 2016 at 10:25 am 0

Lee-Lex Service Center (photo via Google Maps)

The Lee-Lex Service Center, a well-reviewed, long-time automotive business at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Lexington Street, has closed.

Lee-Lex’s website, which has remained largely unchanged for the past 12 years, says that the service center has “been a good neighbor in our Arlington community since 1978 and consistently receive[d] excellent ratings by consumer magazines.”

The service center was open for part of last week but closed just before Thanksgiving. This morning the shop’s technicians were clearing out their belongings and preparing to move to nearby service centers; signs were being posted on the windows, to let customers know who moved where.

Sources tell ARLnow.com that the property is being purchased by Southland Corporation, the parent company of 7-Eleven. It could not be immediately confirmed that a 7-Eleven store would be replacing the service center.

Photo (top) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — November 7, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

Arlington County police carSomeone broke into 20 vehicles near the Wellington apartments on Columbia Pike over the weekend.

According to Arlington County Police, the break-ins happened early Sunday morning. A bunch of car windows were broken, but little of value was stolen, police say.

From an ACPD crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY(Series), 161106015, 1200 block of S. Scott Street. Between 2:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on November 6, unknown suspect(s) entered 20 vehicles, mostly by breaking the vehicle’s windows, and rummaged through items but nothing appeared to be stolen. There is no suspect(s) description.

by ARLnow.com — October 18, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Police cars outside of Department of Human Services (file photo)The Arlington County Police Department is investigating some two dozen car break-ins in the Williamsburg neighborhood of north Arlington, near East Falls Church.

The break-ins were reported earlier today (Tuesday).

“Approximately 25 vehicles were entered and items of value stolen,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow.com. “Officers remain on scene investigating and are canvassing the area to determine if there are any additional victims.”

“This series includes unlocked vehicles so we are reminding citizens to remove the opportunity for crime by locking their vehicle doors, keeping windows up and valuables out of sight,” Savage added. “Please report suspicious activity to the Emergency Communication Center at 703-558-2222.”

by ARLnow.com — October 3, 2016 at 12:45 pm 0

Police car (file photo)(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) An Arlington resident’s home was broken into and his car was vandalized, all because of some perceived transgressions on the dancefloor.

The incident happened early Sunday morning, according to Arlington County Police, at a residence on the 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road, near Ballston.

“At approximately 3:52 a.m. on October 2, officers responded to the report of a disorderly subject,” said an ACPD crime report. “Upon arrival it was determined that a female subject entered a residence and damaged a door and door [jamb]. The subject then moved outside to a vehicle and smashed the windshields and slashed the tires.”

The motive for the crime was dancing-related, said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“The victim and the subject were at a nightclub earlier in the evening and a verbal altercation ensued over the subject dancing with other individuals,” she told ARLnow.com

Annapolis, Maryland resident Tiffany Mason, 28, was arrested and charged with destruction of property and breaking and entering, according to police. She was held without bond.

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2016 at 12:20 pm 0

A woman in brand new Mercedes-Benz SUV somehow managed to run into several parked cars and flip the SUV just seconds into a test drive.

The incident happened just before 11:30 a.m., at the Mercedes dealership on N. Glebe Road in Ballston.

We’re told that the driver was just beginning a test drive, in the dealership parking lot, and might have mistaken the gas pedal for the brake. She crashed into four vehicles before the SUV rolled onto its side.

Four people who were in the SUV at the time managed to get out before police and firefighters arrived, we’re told. One dealership worker was evaluated by medics for a possible back injury. No one was seriously hurt.

by ARLnow.com — July 5, 2016 at 1:00 pm 0

Police car lightsArlington County police responded to a series of vehicle vandalisms and break-ins over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, police found “numerous vehicles” in the East Falls Church area with tires slashed and body panels “keyed.”

The vandalism was centered around the 2400 block of N. Sycamore Street, near Bishop O’Connell High School.

From an ACPD crime report:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY, 160702013, 2400 block of N. Sycamore Street. At approximately 8:30 a.m. on July 2, an officer responded to the listed address for the report of a destruction of property to a vehicle. Numerous vehicles in the area had their tires slashed and were keyed. There is no suspect description.

Also on Saturday morning, police investigated a series of vehicle break-ins in the Penrose and Columbia Heights neighborhoods around Columbia Pike. In total, seven unlocked vehicles were broken into but only two car owners reported that items had stolen.

LARCENY FROM AUTO, 160702012, 1600 block of S. Barton Street. At approximately 8:00 a.m. on July 2, an officer responded to the listed address for the report of items stolen out of an unlocked vehicle. Another officer canvassed the area and discovered two other unlocked vehicles that had been entered but nothing was stolen. There is no suspect description.

TAMPERING WITH AUTO, 160702016, 1800 block of S. 9th Street. At approximately 8:45 a.m.on July 2, an officer responded to the listed address for the report of a tampering with auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that someone had entered an unlocked car and stole items of value. Officers canvassed the area and discovered three other unlocked vehicles that had been rummaged through but nothing was taken. There is no suspect description.

by Jackie Friedman — June 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Crystal Car logoThe annual Crystal Car show is returning this weekend to Crystal City.

The fourth annual Father’s Day Car Festival is being hosted by the Crystal City BID in the surface lot located adjacent to 220 20th Street S., on Sunday, June 19 from 2-6 p.m.

“This family-friendly festival will have a large variety of automobile categories including sports cars, electric vehicles, classic muscle cars, antiques and more,” the Crystal City BID said in a press release. “Along with the cars, enjoy live music, food trucks, and a beer and wine garden hosted by the Washington Wine Academy.”

Admission is free for guests and vehicles but cash is required to when purchasing beer and wine.

Those with cars they want to showcase can register online.

File photo. Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by Adrian Cruz — May 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm 0

In past years, Arlington has been ranked as having some of the worst drivers in the nation. That doesn’t surprise Brian Meenaghan, who has started a Twitter account to document what he views as a never-ending parade of bad drivers on his block.

Meenaghan, an Arlington Heights resident, started the Twitter account @BadDriversof1stRdS at the end of April. The account focuses on the worst offenders on the 3600 block of 1st Road S., a one-way street located in a high traffic area around S. Glebe Road, Route 50 and the Thomas Jefferson middle school and community center.

“I started this account as a cathartic thing because we’ve had a lot of frustrations on our little block. We’re about 400-450 feet long as a block and we dead end at a middle school,” said Meenaghan. “We have people whipping up this block and people coming the wrong way from the middle school. Because of the oddity of the exit for Route 50 around Glebe Road, we also have a lot of people turning around in driveways and going back up the wrong way, trying to go back to 50.”

Meenaghan’s main concern is drivers going the wrong way on the one-way street (traffic is supposed to only flow from S. Glebe Road to Old Glebe Road). From cars to school buses and even Metrobuses, Meenaghan has caught all types of drivers driving the wrong way or speeding — or both — on the narrow street. Photos and video posted to the Twitter account document the broken traffic laws. (See some of the tweets, below.)

“I work downtown and I’m not here physically during the day all that much and I personally see three or four people turning around every day. I’m probably outside maybe 45 minutes to an hour before dinner with my daughter and I see in just that short amount of time a lot of people going the wrong way,” said Meenaghan.

The Twitter account is a joint venture with his neighbors, who often supply the photos he uploads to the website. Meenaghan said he and his neighbors have been trying for years to convince Arlington County to implement traffic calming measures on the block.

“My neighbors are all very involved in this,” said Meenaghan. “I’m not here that much so I’m not here to take a lot of these pictures. You miss a lot of them because they happen so quickly. Probably six of my neighbors have given me photos over the last couple of weeks. It’s kind of a group-wide effort.”

Part of the impetus for the effort is that the block is now chock full of children.

“We now have 15 kids on this block. There are only 23 houses and there are 15 kids under the age of 10. There have been five kids born in the last six months,” said Meenaghan. (One could perhaps see the block as a microcosm of the challenges with burgeoning enrollment facing Arlington Public Schools.)

Along with the kids living on the block, the presence of Thomas Jefferson Middle School at the end of the block means that there is a constant stream of kids on the block during the school year. It’s only set to become busier, with continued growth at the middle school and the construction of a new elementary school on the middle school’s former parking lot.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com — February 17, 2016 at 2:10 pm 0

In an Italian automotive two-fer, the Maserati dealership on Glebe Road near the I-395 exit is now also offering Fiats.

Fiat of Arlington opened recently at 2710 S. Glebe Road, the same address as the Maserati dealership, which opened in 2014. The building that houses the dealership used to be a seafood store.

Both high-end Maserati sports cars and diminutive Fiats are now displayed outside the dealership.

Hat tip to Tom C. Block

by ARLnow.com — December 8, 2015 at 1:30 pm 0

RAPIDPASS Virginia logoNorthern Virginia drivers have a new option for getting an emissions test.

A program called RAPIDPASS Virginia has launched, allowing drivers to get the required test for their vehicle during their daily commute.

The on-road testing is being conducted in various parts of Arlington and other Northern Virginia localities.

From a press release:

Motorists simply drive through conveniently located on-road testing equipment positioned throughout Northern Virginia to have their vehicle emissions measured. Owners of well-maintained, clean-running vehicles will receive notification of a passing emissions inspection via mail, or motorists can go online to www.RAPIDPASS.org and enter their license plate number to check if their vehicle has been processed as clean. For vehicles identified as clean, owners can conveniently pay their inspection fee on-line or through the mail and proceed with their vehicle registration renewal. Taking advantage of RAPIDPASS® allows a motorist to skip the trip to a traditional testing station for the biennial emissions test.

Fifteen RAPIDPASS® on-road emissions testing systems are being conveniently distributed across more than 150 roadside mobile inspection locations in the Northern Virginia inspection area counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. The locations are positioned on frequently used thoroughfares and will be rotated throughout the month.

Testing locations are being posted on the RAPIDPASS website. Today through Thursday, the testing is being done on Lee Highway in Rosslyn.

by Heather Mongilio — October 13, 2015 at 2:35 pm 0

The intersection of Washington Blvd and N. George Mason Drive was temporarily closed due to a two car accident this afternoon.

Police were on scene helping to direct traffic after shutting down the intersection at approximately 1:30 p.m. It reopened around 2:20 p.m.

There were no major injuries, according to an officer at the scene, and one of the drivers was seen walking around the scene. The other was reportedly taken to the hospital.

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